In many mesothelioma cases, beginning symptoms are so minor that many do not believe there is enough reason to seek medical attention. In some instances, no early symptoms exist at all. Mesothelioma usually remains undiagnosed or missed for approximately two to three months and can even remain undiagnosed up to six months. The importance of seeking prompt medical attention for any of the symptoms associated with mesothelioma cannot be stressed enough. If you fail to receive a diagnosis and appropriate treatment, the cancer has a chance to develop and spread to other parts of the body.
Mesothelioma can develop after recent exposure to asbestos or up to 40 years after the exposure. If you have been exposed to asbestos, which causes mesothelioma, consult a doctor and seek regular medical screenings. Even a brief exposure can cause mesothelioma . A physician can perform a regular check up and lung screening to catch early stages of the disease. The earlier you catch mesothelioma, the less time it has to spread and the more likely you are to survive.
The first symptoms of mesothelioma are shortness of breath or breathlessness which may be accompanied by a heavy or uncomfortable feeling in the chest. Approximately 90% of mesothelioma patients will originally only have these two symptoms . Though these symptoms are vague and subtle, seek proper medical attention if you are experiencing them.
Pleural effusion causes the breathlessness and uncomfortable feeling in the chest. Pleural Effusion occurs when fluid accumulates within the lungs, making it difficult to bring oxygen into the body. If you have been exposed to asbestos and are experiencing these symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
The cancer most commonly develops in the chest cavity or lungs, referred to as pleural mesothelioma . It also commonly develop in the abdomen, called peritoneal mesothelioma. Depending on where the cancer has developed, symptoms may differ. Overlapping symptoms can be found in the majority of cases, regardless original tumor's location. Mesothelioma can also develop around the heart, though this is rare.
Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include side and frontal chest pain, shortness of breath, back pain, fatigue, trouble swallowing, fever, a cough that does not go away and unexplained weight loss. Additional symptoms include facial and arm swelling, coughing up of blood, muscle weakness, a hoarseness in the voice and nausea.
Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include swelling of the feet, abdominal pain and swelling, nausea, unexplained weight loss, bowel obstruction, vomiting, lower back pain, shortness of breath and anemia. The abdominal mass can also affect the liver, which controls bleeding, which is why blood-clotting abnormalities may occur. Extreme fatigue and muscle weakness have also been reported.
Although these symptoms may develop in early stages of the disease, many symptoms do not appear until later stages. In addition, you may also only experience a few of the symptoms, rather than all the ones mentioned above. See your doctor if you have developed any of these symptoms or if you have been exposed to asbestos.
Asbestosis is a benign condition that is very common among those experiencing asbestos exposure. Many believe they cannot develop mesothelioma without having asbestosis first. However, the cancer can develop without any prior benign disease or symptoms, making this theory a myth. Asbestosis has similar symptoms to mesothelioma, making it difficult to determine which disease you have without appropriate medical screening and diagnosis.
Once a tumor has been found, additional tests will be conducted to find out which type of mesothelioma you have. Treatment and prognosis vary with the different mesothelioma types, as well as the location. The three main types of mesothelioma are Mixed/Biphasic, Epithelioid and Sarcomatoid. Epithelioid, which is the most common, has the best long-term survival rate.
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